It was no small pleasure to learn, days after I had referred you to the beautiful text of Leviticus, chapter 19, that Pope Francis had published his apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, on the call to holiness in today’s world. I had the good fortune of disposing of a free evening this week, and was able to enjoy the luxury of reading this fine exhortation. It isn’t too long; it is very readable, almost conversational in tone; and it “reproposes”, as Francis himself puts it, the call to holiness in a refreshing and appealing way.
This call was made to us, of course, by Jesus himself: “Be perfect, just as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” Mt 5,48. But Jesus was not the initiator of this call to holiness. It is as old as Israel itself. In the first verse of chapter 19 of the Book of Leviticus, we read: “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God am holy.” This text, Chapter 19 of the Book of Leviticus, is the most beautiful expression that I know of in the Old Testament, of the call to holiness. And so I refer you to it once again. I have made more copies, which are available on the white leaflet rack on the left in the foyer as you leave the church. I will monitor the supply, and if they run out, I will print more.
As for Pope Francis’ exhortation, you can access it simply by googling its title in Latin: “Gaudete et Exsultate”. This will take you directly to the text as it is posted on the Vatican website.
I urge you strongly to take the time to read these beautiful texts, as they renew our hope, our desire, our ambition for holiness…
May God’s grace gently lead us toward the holiness that He has intended from the beginning of time for each one of us.